Honey has long been heralded as a natural remedy for the common cold — but how effective is it really, especially when it comes to easing sore throats? It turns out that, at least when it comes to some ailments, honey is surprisingly effective.
According to a post on the Mayo Clinic's website by Dr. James Steckelberg, "honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant." One study showed that "honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses." Dextromethorphan is found in cough medicines like Robitussin and Delsym.
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But the Mayo Clinic cautions that, based on the current scientific evidence, "High-quality research is needed before a conclusion may be made" regarding the effectiveness of honey as a treatment for coughing. So, if it's a cough that's causing your sore throat, honey may be worth a try, but there doesn't seem to be any guarantee that it will work.
Honey's other health benefits are similarly ambiguous. When it comes to using honey as a treatment for burns, allergies and wound healing, the Mayo Clinic gives honey a grade of "C," — unclear scientific evidence for this use — on all fronts.
No matter what you're using honey for, however, the CDC warns that it should not be given to children under the age of 1, because "honey can contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism."